Monday 1 July 2019

Now online: Alen’s Register reveals C12th-C16th Dublin
Example of the ornate script to be found in the
Register of Archbishop John Alen, RCB Library
D6/3 folios 131r & 132.
Click for enlarged view.
As the RCB Library continues its efforts to digitize and make more resources available to a worldwide audience, the Liber Niger Alani being the record of John Alen (c.1476-1534), Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough, 1530-34 (RCB Library D6/3) is now digitally available for public consultation on the Church of Ireland website.

The Liber Niger Alani, now also known as Alen's Register, is a collection of documents compiled by Alen recording all the lands and properties held by the dioceses. The earliest records he accounted for reached back as far as the conquest of Ireland in the 12th century and continue up to his own administrative era in the 1530s.

The volume is representative of Alen’s ambitious reforms which threatened the position of established powerful families in Ireland. In 1534, Archbishop Alen was murdered – his death being one of the opening acts of the Silken Thomas rebellion. Most of his property was seized by Cromwell as a tax for the Crown, but his Register remained safely housed along with the diocesan records at the archbishop’s palace, and is now secure in the custody of the RCB Library, accessioned as D6/3. Now, some 485 years after his death, his Register has been digitized to make its extraordinary content more accessible.

To accompany this significant digital release, topical analysis is provided by Julia McCarthy, a former undergraduate student at Trinity College Dublin, who worked in the RCB Library as an intern during the summer of 2017. Her analysis shows how Alen’s Register opens a window to pre-Reformation Tudor Dublin. See the RCB Library's Archive of the Month for July here.

To view the digitized version of the Register of Archbishop John Allen (c 1476-1534), including the muniments of the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough from c1172-1534, go to